Hello! Here’s a little update on training my weimaraner, Remy! He will turn 5 years old in February! I like to write these training updates to document our progress over the years. I also think it’s helpful to remind other dog owners that training is ongoing. You’re never really done.
In the comments below, please let me know what you’re working on with your dog this year. And what you accomplished last year!
So, here is our training update.
Training my Weimaraner – 2021 update!
First, here are five things we accomplished in 2020. Then I’ll let you know what we’re working on going forward.
I had to really think about what we accomplished in 2020 but it was actually a lot!
1. We entered our first ever agility trial!
In January 2020, Remy and I entered our first NADAC agility trial. I kept it simple and only signed up to run four times over two days. We got our first qualifying run in “Intro Tunnelers.” As you might assume, this is a course of mostly tunnels!
A qualifying run basically means the dog ran a clean course, hitting the obstacles under the required time limit. Three of our four runs were not qualifying runs because Remy skipped an obstacle (my fault, I’m sure).
Overall, I was really proud of how we did. Remy was focused on me (not always the case during practice) and we really tried our best. The most embarrassing part was when he FLEW over the “A-frame” obstacle and the judge immediately disqualified us for safety reasons. It was my fault for not slowing him down. He gets amped!
2. We joined our local bird dog training group.
We attended four training weekends over the summer with our local NAVHDA chapter. Remy got to retrieve his first birds and I learned the basics of training a pointing dog for hunting. I was waaay out of my element here so just the fact that I showed up was a huge accomplishment for me!
I wrote a detailed post about our bird dog training with NAVHDA here.
3. We attended a hunting dog seminar.
In August, I signed us up for a Foundation Seminar with Rick Smith, a legendary trainer in the bird dog world.
This was two full days of training for pointing dogs that included obedience, getting our dogs to focus and some bird work. It was a weekend of nonstop training and focus and Remy and I both learned a lot.
4. Training my weimaraner to “fetch” and “drop.”
This will always be a work in progress for Remy. He gets possessive of random items like socks, tissues and pieces of trash, but I did make a lot of progress over the summer by using a clicker and treats.
It was basically “click” and “treat” for every little thing he did right, trying to change his response to his “triggers.” He still tries to steal socks, but he will usually drop them now for a treat instead of clamping down or trying to swallow them.
We still have a lot of work to do with “fetch” as well because he gets overly excited and possessive over balls, frisbees and training bumpers. But I’ve been working with a long leash, a clicker and treats for this too. He’s better but he’s still crazy.
5. We mastered hitting the “contact” spots on agility obstacles.
Dogs are required to touch a “contact” spot on certain obstacles such as the “A frame” and the “dog walk.” As I mentioned earlier, this was a problem for us at our first trial because Remy flew over the contact spots. In his defense, I had not taken the time to teach him to hit the contacts.
First, I used a board in my garage and taught Remy the command “spot” which means get your paws on that contact “spot.” We then transferred that concept to the agility obstacles and now he does pretty well hitting the contacts. He still tries to speed on by when he’s excited but we’re doing so much better.
Going forward – Training my Weimaraner in 2021
In 2021 I’ll be trying to improve on what I discussed above, but here are some of the other areas I’m focused on. These are actually some training basics!
1. Heeling and loose leash walking.
We do a sport called canicross where Remy pulls me while I run. This is a lot of fun and a great workout! I absolutely love canicross! Some people do this sport on skis!
However, this year I would finally like to teach my dog that pulling is not OK when the leash is attached to his collar. Pulling in the harness is OK. Pulling in a collar is not OK!
Yes, it sounds so simple but it is oh so difficult for my dog. Probably the hardest thing to teach him.
So … I actually hired a one-on-one trainer to come help me with heeling. It will only help us.
I might also sign us up for a basic obedience class with another local trainer. If we take their 5-week obedience class, then we can attend their “pack walks” which would be extremely helpful for us. That way we can work in an “exciting” environment with lots of distractions.
I also signed up for an online loose-leash walking course that I can work through at my own pace. So I’m actually taking feedback from three separate trainers!
See my post: How to stop a dog’s pulling
2. Training my weimaraner to come when called!
I need to dedicate more time to working with Remy on “come.” He’s improved some but he is not where I’d like him to be.
His collar broke off recently in our front yard and instead of coming when called he chased after a woman walking by and she was NOT happy! She was very scared of him and thankfully he did not jump on her. I had to walk over and grab him. Super embarrassing.
When we attended the bird dog training over the summer, he also ignored me while off leash.
I mean, he ran hundreds of yards around me, totally ignoring my cues. It was enough of an issue where one of the leaders pulled me aside and said, “You’ve got to get that dog under control.” And, “He doesn’t come when called.”
In Remy’s defense, we were expecting too much from him in that situation. I should’ve kept him on his long check cord that day, so really it was my fault for setting him up for failure.
But … at least it’s clear where we need to put in some work!
See my post: How to get your dog to come when called
3. Improve fetch and drop.
Like I said, Remy has some possessiveness issues with toys and other items so this has to be an ongoing focus. I’ll make a point to keep working with him on a long leash, with treats.
4. Agility weave poles.
We have not spent much time on learning the weave poles so I plan to finally do this in 2021. We don’t have our own weave poles but we are so lucky we can head to our agility club’s practice barn anytime we want to use their equipment. It’s only about 20 minutes away.
I will probably sign up for an online course to help us master the weave poles. Here’s the course I’m looking at, in case you’re interested.
5. “Go to your bed.”
Remy is an extremely excitable dog, especially during greetings so I’ve been working with him on “place” or “go to your bed.”
He needs to learn to settle there even with big distractions and for longer periods. Again, this is a work in progress with my excitable maniac!
Training my Weimaraner – other updates:
Training my dog to run on a treadmill. I am trying to train Remy to trot on our new treadmill, but so far he’s not enjoying this. If he doesn’t start to like it after a few more sessions, I’ll stop. We run and walk outside every day so the treadmill would be more of a mental workout for him anyway.
Second agility trial. This month we are entering our second ever agility trial, a full year after our first trial. I plan to just have fun and see what we can do. I’ve entered us in 12 runs this year instead of 4.
New puppy in 2021!
And last but not least, we are still planning to add a Labrador puppy to our family in 2021! It will probably be mid to late summer so our pup is not even born yet. I will write more about our puppy in the next few months. I’m not sure what I’m getting myself into but it’s fun to think about! We are on the list for any gender/color combo but this breeder does not have chocolate Labs.
I hope our puppy will make a great companion, running & adventure buddy, agility dog and maybe some hunting for fun. But we will see!
Now, I’d love to hear from you!
What are you working on with your dog? Let me know in the comments!
Here are some of our past updates on training my weimaraner. It’s been too long since I’ve written one of these!
- Training at 15 months
- Goals for my 11-month old pup
- Training my 5 month old puppy
- Puppy training at 10 weeks!
- Training for my 9 year old dog Ace!
Lindsay Stordahl is the founder of That Mutt. She writes about dog training and behavior, healthy raw food for pets and running with dogs.